In The Mood For Fig Newtons And Scotch, Maybe

Image from @thepresentpsychologist on Instagram

So it’s still January. I feel like this has been the longest January* on record. Somehow a few extra days got tossed into this one, I am beyond bored.

Do you feel it too, my little ice cubes?

In fact, referring to The Mood Meter image above, not that I want it that way but I’d say I’m currently in the lower lefthand quadrant at DRAINED on a fast train to DESOLATE, hoping to not end up at DESPAIR.

I started this year in the upper righthand quadrant at OPTIMISTIC and ENERGIZED. But blah cold weather combined with incessant anti-vax gibberish**, plus a realization that many  longtime bloggy friends have stopped posting altogether, well– this has left me feeling oddly RESTLESS.

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Image from @thefabstory on Instagram

I usually like January, look forward to it even. But somehow this year, maybe because of the endless anxiety associated with the pandemic, I’m feeling a different vibe within myself and about the world around me.

When it comes to self-care, referring to the Routines To Try image above, I don’t know if I need to be more PRODUCTIVE or focus on being CALMER.

And ain’t that a pip!

Anyhoo that’s where I find myself this wintry morning, wondering if there might be some restorative power in Colonel Sherman T. Potter’s remedy for feeling low.  The clip below explains what to do with your Fig Newtons and Scotch*** and why.  Cheers!

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* Okay I’m wrong about this being the longest January on record: In the Roman calendar only 10 months had formal names. Winter (January and February) was simply known as the “dead period” [Source here]

** We’re both fully vaccinated and wear our masks when out in public, where we rarely go because of the people who are not fully vaccinated and do not wear their masks out in public.

*** In the spirit of transparency I feel obliged to tell you that should I follow through on Colonel Potter’s advice, the Fig Newton will be a Chocolate Chip cookie and the Scotch will be Bourbon.

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SO TELL ME, HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? WHAT’S YOUR MOOD?

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Nothing Sketchy: And Then Our Mailbox Made A Run For It

I enjoy a bit of absurdity.

It was late Friday afternoon.  Zen-Den was working from home in a guest bedroom his upstairs office that overlooks the front yard and street.

He was on a conference call, listening, bored presumably, and staring out the window at the street.

There was a gust of wind and just like that our extra large [15″x11.7″x24.8″] black metal [11.5 lbs] mailbox  [identical to this one] went flying off its post– and started scampering down the street.

Like a sneaky pet dog out on an adventure.

Never slowing down, never looking back.

Z-D, still listening to his conference call saw what had happened, found me downstairs, pointed outside, and mouthed the words “mailbox escaped.”

I looked out the window and understood.  I immediately went running out the front door to chase our mailbox, WITH OUR MAIL IN IT, down the street.

On a cold late autumn day.

Without a coat or gloves on.

The little miscreant, pushed by more gusts of wind, slide downhill in the gutter along the side of the street until it was in front of our next-door neighbor’s house where the runaway fell on its side, popping up its little red flag in surrender.

Nice touch, eh?

I was charmed in spite of the situation.

I picked him up, double-checked that our mail was still inside [it was], then started walking home with said sneaky mailbox cuddled in my arms, like you might when you capture a wiggly dog.

However unlike a warm small furry dog, a metal mailbox is cold, cold, cold to carry.  I wasn’t dressed for the elements let alone a search and rescue mission that involved carrying a large mailbox home.

Mailboxes have sharp edges.

Trust me on this.

Anyhoo, laughing at acknowledging the absurdity of this situation, I got the little fellow home, put him in the garage, and walked down the driveway to see what had happened that prompted our mailbox to make a run for it.

Come to find out, the wood on the post that forms the horizontal platform on which the mailbox sits had rotted underneath the mailbox.  The mailbox had been attached with screws to the rotting wood, but the gust of wind was powerful enough to rip them out of place, and sent our mailbox flying.

This was a first for me/us, but one that graciously provided us with the gift of a Saturday project.

Yep, we had to replace the rotting wood on the post then re-attach the mailbox, no worse for the wear btw, to the new sturdy wood plank.

So we did.

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The foregoing story reminds me of my favorite TikTok. It stars a dog named Bean. Do dah, do dah!

Adding Value To Chez Bean: Every Tom, Nate, & Marty

Just jawing here. Another day, another post about plans gone sideways.

As you probably know adding value to your home is a slow deliberate process that takes planning, chutzpah, dinero, and faith.  In my experience to make anything happen, one must have the patience of Job, sometimes more than his.

When it comes to this house my motto is IMPROVE DON’T MOVE.  We love Chez Bean and after a pandemic-related 20 month delay in our home improvement schedule, we’re back to fixing her up*.

Or at least starting to do so, supply chain be damned.

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Last week we had TOM, the landscaper, extend a stacked stone retaining wall so that next spring we’ll be able to plant some bushes or perennials in our new, dare I say classy, planting bed that frames the front yard.

Look for photos next spring, nothing interesting to see yet.

We’ve talked with NATE about a new concrete sidewalk that’ll lead to our front stoop.  Our current sidewalk is 20+ years old.  It’s cracked and crumbling, with many an unwanted, albeit cute, chipmunk living underneath portions of it.

The question now is: do we replace it with what is there, standard brushed concrete, or for a price do we upgrade to stamped concrete?

Opinions or observations vis-à-vis concrete, anyone? 

And then, because we’re finally ready to have our shabby dated powder room and guest bathroom remodeled, we talked with MARTY our previous remodeler** who done us proud.

We hope to bring the bathrooms into this century, thereby making them more usable, with modern amenities like toilets that flush consistently and drains that like to drain.

And wouldn’t that be nice?

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Anyway that’s what’s up here. Anything new, home-related or otherwise, with you, my little chickadees? Chirp away in the comments below.  

* Fun fact: 2020 was to be the year we completed our home improvement projects, projects that started with remodeling the kitchen in 2009.  We’d hoped to begin traveling in 2021, comfortable in the knowledge that our home, our nest, was up-to-date and ready to nurture us upon our return home. BUT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DID IT?

** Happy fact: Completed inside home improvement projects include the aforementioned kitchen + the primary bathroom + the laundry room + the upgraded fireplace surround. LIKE CHRISTMAS, WE’RE GETTING THERE.

Slow Down Hippy Child: The One About The Haircut That Wasn’t

Plans change. Often.

When I became fully vaccinated [Moderna] in late May, I made an appointment to get my hair cut. My last real haircut was February 2020, with a fast trim in August 2020.

The upshot of not getting my hair cut every few months is that I’ve got hippy hair now. It’s long and frizzy and curly. The texture looks similar to Carole King on the cover of Tapestry.

“My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue.” Her life, my hair. Of course in my case the royal hues are mostly dishwater blonde and gray, but you get my point.

My appointment was for late June, yesterday in fact.

HOWEVER a few weeks ago I got a text telling me my appointment had been cancelled. Not postponed, mind you. Cancelled.

Bummer, said I.

Then I went to check my email because I thought that Janelle, the stylist who has cut my hair for over 20 years, might have sent me an email explaining what was going on. And she had.

Come to find out Janelle was having hip replacement surgery, immediately. She didn’t say why she was having this surgery stat so I can’t explain the backstory, but she said that she’d be back to work by late July.

To me this seems a little too soon after surgery. Of course I know nothing about hip replacement surgery so maybe it’s okay, but I’m not scheduling another appointment until late August. That’d be one year after my last trim.

I figure I’ve got a good hippy vibe going on now and I’ve come to like wearing my hair in a plump curly ponytail. Bring me those colorful elastics, I can make this work.

The thing is that over the years I’ve spent time and money to keep my hair looking blonde and professional, *neat* as my late mother would have said. So the oddest part of having long unruly hair is that I’m not upset about looking like a hippy child.

MAYBE this who I am meant to be in my later years as I head into my dotage. That could be the message here.

Be that as it may or may not, in the meantime, I think we can all agree that plans change. And if the pandemic has taught me anything it’s you gotta make the best of whatever comes your way, whether it be Covid-19 vaccine availability or delayed haircut appointments.

Yes, with a hat tip to Simon & Garfunkel’s famous song ‘Feelin’ Groovy’ I’m slowing down, talking to lampposts, and living hippy for two more months.

Why not, huh?

• • •

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

You’ve made plans, which ones did not happen?

What did the pandemic teach you about making plans?

Are you feeling groovy?

• • •

A Thursday In February: Seeing The Sunshine Whilst Not Doing Something I Should Be Doing

The snow isn’t deep here, the sunshine is warm & lovely, but the temperature is frigid outside.

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WOULD YOU BELIEVE ME IF I told you that by writing this blog post I’m avoiding going to class and doing my homework?

Well, it’s the truth.

You see, in January I signed up for a pass/fail college course that is from the history department at Harvard University offered through edX. The course is entirely online and you do it at your own pace following an official syllabus to keep you moving along in a timely manner.

[Currently I’m failing, btw. I have 63% and need 65% to pass, but whatevs.]

I should be doing the right thing this morning: that would be watching the lectures and reading the articles and answering the questions, but I don’t want to. And therein might be the most dramatic difference between younger me and older me. Younger me was the good Do Bee” student [Romper Room, anyone?] while older me is a wise “Your Ken can kiss my Barbie” woman [The Big Bang Theory].

Case in point, I’m not doing my schoolwork today and you can’t make me. Ha!

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HOWEVER I WILL SHARE WITH YOU something I learned in the process of doing research for my final project that is due in a few weeks. Interestingly enough I came across a word that can be used to describe the feeling you’d have if you were standing outside in the sunshine, like the birch trees are in the photo at the top of this post.

The word is Apricity [Merriam-Webster] and it means the warmth of the sun in the winter.

Yes this is another word to add to your personal lexicon because who doesn’t like the joy of knowing an obscure word and using it in a sentence? I mean, why else would you be here today if not for another unique learning experience– and the opportunity to answer a timeless question on a cold winter’s day.

Thus I leave you, my gentle readers, to answer and comment below: do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

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